Dian's Column
Dian's Archive


American’s are richer now than a few years ago. Really.

By Dian Vujovich

Pick up a newspaper and read the business pages or listen to the economic reports on radio and TV and one might construe that American’s are frightfully poor.  While many are absolutely positively suffering financially, a new wealth report finds household wealth at highs not seen since the third quarter of 2007.  Now that’s saying something.

To set the stage, it was in December of 2007 that the Great Recession we’ve all been dealing with and living through began, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Now, enter the Federal Reserve.

Although there’s no doubt that the past five years have been challenging on a number of fronts beginning with jobs lost, retirement and investment savings accounts diminished along with a rise in the cost of the stuff we all need—like food and fuel for transporting us here and there—apparently now there’s money-a-plenty. Almost.

Household wealth peaked in the third quarter of 2007 to $67.3 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report out today (12/6/12). From a figures point of view, today’s household wealth amounts to $64.77 trillion—a mere $1.2 trillion shy of that high in December of ’07.

A bullish stock market over the past few years combined with the recent rise in real estate prices are two reasons given for the growth in household wealth. So is the pay-down and non-acquiring of personal debt.

That’s the good news. The bad news is I don’t see too many people jumping with financial joy. Do you?

It seems to me that concerns over our nation’s debt, mingled in with the nasty presidential election that’s finally behind us, and increased worries about a fiscal cliff have  done little to instill a positive  mood for Americans even though it’s the hap-hap-happiest time of the year.

But odds are,  the 1 or 2 percenter’s are likely richer now; even middle-, upper-middle and high-income earners have probably seen some nice growth in their portfolios’ worth over the past few years ago.  So celebrate: Go out and shop. And smile. After all, it is the season.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

[ top ]